Yu Darvish’s dominant debut showcases Dodgers’ playoff reality: ‘Pick your poison’
NEW YORK – It was a simple message, and a bold one at that.
On the first day of spring training, manager Dave Roberts walked into the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse with a proclamation.
“(He) told us we’re gonna win this thing this year,” said Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
Over the course of 108 games, as the Dodgers continued to maintain a franchise-high win percentage, that proclamation looked more and more like an inevitable and prophetic reality.
And Friday night – Los Angeles’ 109th game of the season – when Yu Darvish made his Dodgers debut at Citi Field in front of 41,187 fans, the prized right-hander pushed the needle of Roberts’ prediction one notch closer to fruition.
Darvish was nothing short of exceptional, throwing seven innings of shutout baseball while surrendering just three hits and walking only one. Or, more simply, the New York Mets couldn’t touch the Dodgers’ newest weapon.
Darvish blew his two and four-seam fastball past the Mets for 10 strikeouts, all while utilizing a full arsenal comprised of a curveball, slider, cutter and changeup. It goes without saying — a collection of pitches like that is hard to come by.
“He attacked the strike zone early and he got them to chase late,” said catcher Yasmani Grandal. “That’s the name of the game, that’s when you start playing that cat and mouse game. The ability for him to spin the ball when he needs it for a strike and then for a strikeout, it’s huge. All of a sudden you start playing with angles — whether it’s a curveball that starts up in the zone and ends up in the bottom.
“You know, what are you gonna sit on now? Because I can go to a slider, I can go to a fastball up. You pick your poison, and I told him he did a really good…